SURFSIDE, FLA. (WSVN) - Concerns continue to linger over the Champlain Towers North Condo, the sister building of the South condo that partially collapsed, because it was built around the same time and may have used the same materials, according to Surfside’s mayor.
Some residents have already evacuated the building.
“It has the same name,” Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said. “It has the same developer. It seems to have the same plans. It seems it may have been built with the same materials. That’s a legitimate concern.”
The mayor said the town is waiting on confirmation that the North building is not in danger of collapse.
“We sent our building official into that building a couple of days ago with the expert that we’ve hired, and they did a cursory review,” Burkett said. “Basically, they came back and said to me that nothing jumped out at them as really, really terrible.”
Even so, a voluntary evacuation of the North building was issued last week following the South condo’s partial collapse. Some residents have packed their belongings and moved out of the building for now.
“We don’t want to add to the problem and spark a panic,” Burkett said. “We just want to give people the option if they are fearful to be somewhere else and support that.”
Burkett said another layer of inspection to the North condo has been scheduled for Tuesday.
“The condo board there has engineers coming to a full top to bottom forensic review of all the structural systems, so we can tell the people with some certainty that their building is not unsafe,” Burkett said.
The North condo will be the first of many buildings along Surfside beach that will receive a closer look in South Florida. Some cities have called for immediate inspections of older residential high rises.
“We will get to the other buildings a bit later, but we won’t overlook that either,” Burkett said.
The mayor added the city’s attention will remain focused on the condo collapse, where the search for survivors continues.
“First thing’s first, saving lives, supporting the family, getting all of the information and dealing with the buildings we have suspicions about,” Burkett said.
Burkett added the evacuation of the North condo will remain voluntary unless they learn more information about the building’s structural integrity that points to danger. If that happens, they will mandate an evacuation of the building.
Municipalities in Miami-Dade and Broward counties are looking at their certification and inspection guidelines. When it is known what exactly caused the Champlain Towers South Condo collapse, that information will likely play a role in shaping how certifications and inspections will be moving forward.
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